Sustainability - what's your view?

I can’t be sure, but they might not be talking about Stevenage. The communities referred to might be the communities around where the grapes are grown / wine is made.

One example I have encountered before was with Naked Wines - they supported a charity run by one of their winemakers who was providing school lunches for children from impoverished backgrounds who couldn’t afford to send their child to school with any food. I hope to god it wasn’t another bullshit propaganda marketing exercise from NW, but I thought it was a great way to give back to the community and supported the charity several times.


some already are…

Agree with lots of other comments about not conflating eco/environmental sustainability objectives with the second group which are essentially HR ones.

I also think that the ‘diversity’ element can be overworked. You can’t force people to join TWS because they happen to be in a particular demographic. TWS is unlikely to attain a membership profile of Muslims that is in line with the wider community % for fairly obvious reasons.

Same with responsible drinking, whatever that might mean. That’s the individual’s responsibility. Sincerely hope we never see the day when we are rationed as to what we can buy in relation to our ‘recommended’ weekly intake…that’s one short step from Prohibition.

I would also expect TWS management and board to adopt policies that were appropriate and proportionate, and which were good for the business and hence the members in the long term. As a co-op they should be well placed to take that longer view.

…and definitely no more super heavy bottles with weird shapes!


Diversity now seems to becoming an end in itself rather than a means to an end.


Yes, I also wondered about who the community in general was or is - Stevenage, UK, the wine-producing regions, the world? That’s another tricky question. However at this point I was questioning the “giving back” rather than the recipient. Also we all can, and possibly should, contribute to any cause we want to; I’m less keen on somebody giving on my behalf.


To me the top priority is to obtain the best wines and to sell them at the best prices, as TWS does at the moment.

Stop doing that and members will stop buying.

I don’t want a wine that would be otherwise listed to be barred because of the shape/size of the bottle. Similarly I don’t TWS to make it a condition of business to bulk ship and bottle in UK wine that is normally bottled in the winery.

Of course I want TWS to treat their staff and suppliers fairly. I don’t know about the first but I have heard fulsome praise from wine producers in several countries of how TWS deals with them.

I don’t understand the inclusion of modern slavery as you have, as required, a statement on modern slavery in which TWS says needless to state we have a zero-tolerance approach


In my view, this is an example of giving back. We are taking the opportunity of buying wine from a country with relatively low wages and relatively wonderful vine-growing conditions and giving something back to that community.

Again, just using this example, NW offered their members the opportunity to support the charity (though I think they may have matched all donations) rather than mandating you support this or that particular cause.

The word doesn’t just refer to environmental impact. From here:

What Is Sustainability?

Sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The concept of sustainability is composed of three pillars: economic, environmental, and social—also known informally as profits, planet, and people.

Yes, good point, but I think TWS would need to keep this very simple so we could actually compare suppliers and understand what they do in this respect. A basic 'Sustainably farmed" descriptor, that covers a range of practices, but could incorporate existing certifications to keep the legwork and admin down to keep it manageable (am I thinking too much about this, or being totally unrealistic?)

I would definitely support this proposal as well.

So do I, I spent this morning’s commute reading the latest list adding to my bloated wish-list (and sagging basket). However, perhaps this could be a default ‘Opt out’, communicated in the initial new joiners pack. If you want printed material, let us know. I suspect it would lead to a large reduction in use of resources as many people would prefer not to receive anything through the post.


I was wondering if the WS has solar pannels on its ware house roofs? I saw the following on Google. I know nothing about this company.

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It would certainly be something I think they should be looking into. A great help in moving towards zero carbon.
The feed in tarrif is pretty poor atm.

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We have over 400 solar panels on the roof of the Members’ Reserves warehouse.


best to use it all - daytime running and storage for overnight - and no pay out for energy

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Discussed with a colleague yesterday (also a wine geek) - he recommended looking at either the UN

or the Intertek programme

both give direction rather than leaving companies to make their own way - sometimes helpful to SMEs


My first Agm was this years. Though virtual has its advantages physical meeting is also useful. I think a physical agm would be great experience for those who can attend. It would be good to meet some of you that i discuss with on this community.
So i think there are various possibilities. A virtual AGM every other year and a physical one alternating. A blended AGM might also be a possibility. I attend physicaly a Quaker Meeting every sunday which operates as a blended meeting . Weith some people attending virtualy via zoom.

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Regional meetings might be the way to go.
Attending a London AGM would cost me 2 days, a hotel night, plane, train, subsistence etc, ergo £400+. :open_mouth:
Also Members can interact by attending tastings, dinners and events in Stevenage, London & the provinces.
This is the 21st century, we have the technology to do things more efficiently and sustainably and we should lead the charge down that road.
It is normal behaviour to eschew change, it deviates from their “normal”, but is inevitable. Better to grasp the nettle NOW, rather than being dragged kicking and screaming from the 19th century into the 21st!! :grinning: :rofl: :wink: :dragon:

Certainly worth looking into battery storage, also the possibility of buying in cheap energy in the night, when wind energy can overload the grid. I’m sure TWS has people advising them.
I would like them to invest in low carbon technology.

a networking acquaintance of mine does this and it is fascinating where the industry is going - sadly in a listed building and however much I argue that the panels are a temporary structure (like a wind turbine is classified as) Im not allowed them

couple of friends with electric cars have been paid to charge them over-night when the grid is maxed (or is it max’d) out

I’d suggest that TWS should also talk to its bankers. The relationship manager should be able to introduce the bank’s sustainability team, who may have suggestions or suitable propositions, both for the Society directly and also in terms of sustainable supply chain finance, that could help push sustainability benefits through the Society’s network. (Commonly, up to 80% of a company’s carbon footprint lies in its supply chain.) (Full disclosure: I work for a bank although I am not a banker and have no commercial interest in suggesting this.)


As someone with some professional knowledge on the subject…

Basically, the discussion here is largely about carbon footprint at different points in the journey from grape to glass. Which is fine and important. But a very important issue here is land use - the Mediterranean habitats where grape grows are under more threat than any other biome for land conversion, simply because they are great places to grow crops and build cities. So we could focus on the biodiversity impact of growing grapes for wine.

Fortunately, grapes are less harmful than competitors (compare and contrast the water demands and fertiliser use involved in growing wine grapes with growing things like avocado), especially in ‘good’ wine which benefits from lower-chemical, lower-irrigation agriculture. But we could easily encourage more nature-friendly viticulture, e.g. thinking about wild flora in field margins, use of pesticides and so on.

There is a fair bit of academic research on the best ways to grow grapes which support biodiversity in and around vineyards, which fortunately are often also good for the quality of wine. I’d like to see TWS working with suppliers, and the industry more broadly, to push some of these measures.


Whole heartedly agree with this. Biodiversity is often overlooked but is arguably just as important as carbon emissions.

For example, insect populations are vital to our future wellbeing but have crashed scarily. Recent research has shown that a lot of insects migrate long distances (some thousands of miles, incredibly) and any pesticides on their route can kill them. So the more pesticide free land we have, the better.


very good points and extends on my initial comments

many people, especially in UK, don’t consider water consumption of their foods - whilst being lectured by a Vegan (apols to any non-preachy vegans) they were astonished when I explained it was about 2,000 gallons of water to grow 1 pound of almonds (for almond milk) compared to approx 60 gallons for a similar amount of cows milk - 33 times as much !

I can remember reading about our demands for avacodos meaning water is diverted in regions of Chile leaving villages in near drought conditions…and they only use 200 gallons per pound!

You say you have professional knowledge…may I ask if that is as a consultant ?I have a client is looking at these kind data for a project